#isora – The Dun Laoghaire Night Race, as part of the ISORA Avery Crest Offshore Series 2015 and the RAYC Offshore Series, took place starting and finishing in Dun Laoghaire on Friday evening 7th August, writes ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan
After a season of heavy winds the forecast for the DL Night Race was for NO wind at all at all!! None of the usual forecasts that use all the different weather models were predicting any wind for Friday evening and up until late Saturday morning. The forecast was so bleak that deciding the course was delayed until the morning of the race. The course is normally selected earlier in the week to allow the Avery Crest YB Trackers to be set up.
The Race Committee decided that sending the fleet out around North India with little or no wind would not be a smart move as there would be no opportunity to get out of the tide. The course was shortened to 25 miles and would keep the fleet close to the coast. It was set as follows:
Start - Muglins (S) - Breaches Shoal (P)- Muglins (P) - Finish
As the skippers gathered at the marina to collect their Avery Crest YB Trackers, the outlook for the race looked grim. The water in the marina was like a mill pond but there was a 3-5k breeze from the south east in the bay. The tide had turned south two hours before the 20.00 start so this would help the fleet towards the first mark, the Muglins. Many felt that the race might be finished at the Muglins after just 2.7 miles.
16 starters from the entry list of 20 competed in the race. RAYC Commodore, Barry MacNeaney was at the start line at DBSC "Pier" mark to send the boats slowly towards the Muglins. Surprisingly what little wind was at the start held and the fleet aided by the tide progressed towards the Muglins. Approaching the Muglins one could see a huge "hole" in Killiney Bay. However after rounding the Muglins there was just enough wind filling in to keep the fleet making good progress towards the Breaches Shoal.
The sunset was spectacular and the night sky was clear. The wind veered to the south giving a gently beat down to the Breaches Shoal. The wind was very fluky and it veered and backed, increasing and decreasing continuously. Despite this the fleet arrived at the Breaches Shoal at approximately 22.30 with "Tsunami" rounding first and popping the kite for the run home in the just turned flooding tide. "Tsunami" was followed very closely by the lead bunch consisting of "Aquelina", "Lively Lady", "Aurelia" and "Ruth".
No sooner had the lead boats rounded Breaches, the wind veered to the north-west resulting in the dropping of the spinnakers and the fetch and sometimes beat back towards Muglins. "Lively Lady" lead the fleet past Muglins and started their beat towards the finish.
"Lively Lady" took line honours 6 minutes ahead of "Tsunami" crossing the finish line at 01.29. Behind "Tsunami" was a close bunch of four boats, "Aquelina", "Aurelia", Ruth" and "Mojito", separated by only three and a half minutes. Only 15 seconds separated "Aquelina" from "Aurelia". The last boat crossed the finish line just after 04.00.
Again the unstoppable Liam Shanahan's "Ruth" won Overall and Class 1. Colm Buckley's "Blue Eyes" took 1st in Class 2 and Silver Class. As the race was tracked using the Avery Crest YB trackers, the race can be re-played using the YB app or on the ISORA website.
Despite the awful forecast and the vision of a drifting match down and up on the tide, those boats that took part were rewarded with a spectacular night race along the beautiful well lit Dublin and Wicklow coast in near perfect conditions. It was one of the most memorable races that I have taken part in many years, and all for the right reasons!!
ISORA looks forward to visiting the fantastic new facilities at Plas Heli Sailing Academy, recently opened in Pwllheli after the next Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli cross channel race on the 15th August. For more information on these new facilities see www.plasheli.org This is also the Feeder Race to the Spinlock IRC Welsh Nationals to be hosted in this great facility from the 21st-23rd August. A spectacular event is promised!